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The Gifted: Learn the Von Strucker Family’s Marvel Comics Origins

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News, TV Comment
The Gifted: Learn the Von Strucker Family’s Marvel Comics Origins

As comic book fans around the globe tuned in to check out the first trailer for The Gifted, Fox’s upcoming TV series spinning out of the X-Men, they saw that the show starred a family. More specifically, the series will follow the story of twin mutants (Lauren and Andy Strucker) and what their father will do to protect them. Those names are new, but it appears clear that they are at least loosely based on a rather surprising pair of twins from the Marvel Universe, namely Andrea and Andreas von Strucker, better known as Fenris!

RELATED: The Gifted: What We Learned from the First Trailer and Its X-Men Ties

Just quickly, we’ll first point out that the von Struckers are the children of longtime Nick Fury nemesis, Baron Wolfang von Strucker. Von Strucker tangled with Magneto and Professor X back when the two mutant leaders were young men (and good friends), as shown in Uncanny X-Men #161 (by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum and Bob Wiacek).

That’s really neither here nor there, though, since obviously the father on The Gifted has nothing in common with the evil von Strucker, who has actually already made a live action appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (at the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and then Avengers: Age of Ultron). We just felt that it was worth mentioning, especially since that clearly paid a role in Claremont later introducing von Strucker’s children into the pages of Uncanny X-Men.

Do note that almost nothing in comic book history happens in a vacuum, so you have to take into account what Germany was like in the late 1980s when Fenris made their debut. A whole generation of young people were growing up who were born after World War II and thus had no real connection to what happened in the war, and thus, no guilt over the war, either. Thus, there was a good many stereotypes in popular culture of spoiled rich German young adults callously walking through life. When you understand that that image was common to readers of 1985, it makes the debut of the von Struckers in Uncanny X-Men #194 (by Claremont, John Romita Jr., Dan Green and Steve Leialoha) make a whole lot more sense, as a then recently powerless Storm runs into them when she returns to Kenya to deal with her lost powers and they’re there on a safari being rich jerks…

Two issues later, Andrea von Strucker actually manages to shoot Storm in the head! Luckily, the bullet only grazed Storm’s temple, so she survived, but still! While, of course, Andrea’s brother used an ethnic slur against Storm. When next we met them in Uncanny X-Men #200 (by Claremont, Romita Jr. and Green), they seemed to suggest that their relationship might be an incestuous one, while also explaining that they want revenge on Magneto and Xavier for the events of Uncanny X-Men #161..

It is at this point that they break into the trial of Magneto before the World Court and reveal that, surprisingly enough, they are mutants, as well, and they call themselves Fenris – they can shoot out energy blasts when they are in contact with each other (Andrea fired concussive blasts while Andreas fires disintegration beams…

They are defeated, but get away. They briefly showed up to fight against Cloak and Dagger in their series, but that was pretty much it for Fenris in the 1980s.

RELATED: Fox’s The Gifted Sets Up Mutant Testing Spots In NYC

The 1990s, though, kicked off with quite a bang for the twins. You might know this by now, but Chris Claremont was famous for introducing subplots and then allowing them to take a long time to percolate before returning to them. The issue, of course, is that since he was taken off of the X-Men titles in 1991, he never got a chance to finish all of those plots! One of these plots was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #260 (by Claremont, Marc Silvestri and Dan Green). Banshee and Forge had just been given a lift by a charter pilot when suddenly their pilot’s plane was destroyed and we see that the people who destroyed it were none other than Fenris, back out of nowhere!

You see, this was an early plot in what eventually became a group of evil young mutants known as the Upstarts, who would compete with each other to see who could kill more mutants as part of some sick and twisted game. We wouldn’t see them actually implementing this game again until over a year later, when they showed up in X-Men #4 (by Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, John Byrne and Scott Williams) trying to acquire Omega Red (they failed).

For whatever reason, Fenris turned out to not be that much of a player in the Upstarts. Honestly, though, the issue was more that the Upstarts ended up not being that big of a deal period. Which makes sense, of course, as they were created by Claremont and developed by Lee and Portacio, so incoming X-Men writers Fabian Nicieza and Scott Lobdell naturally did not have as much attachment to the concept as the people who created and developed the idea. Nicieza did notably use Fenris in a cool crossover between Nomad, Daredevil and the Punisher, where Fenris was one of a number of criminal organizations trying to divvy up the Kingping’s property during one of those periods where the Kingpin was out of commission.

RELATED: The Gifted: 8 Mutants Who NEED To Appear (And 7 Who DON’T)

It was Nicieza who would take the next major step in the history of the von Struckers. Nicieza was writing Thunderbolts when he had Baron Zemo, who had previously adopted the identity of Citizen V, actually take over the body of the new Citizen V. He then starred in a 2001 miniseries by Nicieza, Matt Ryan and Sean Parsons and romanced Andrea von Strucker. However, she then realized his true identity and he couldn’t let that be, so he had to kill her…

For years later, Nicieza was writing a New Thunderbolts series with artists Tom Grummett and Gary Erskine when the third issue ended with the introduction of a new Swordsman!

In the next issue, the news Sworsdman showed off an interesting power…

Yep, sure enough, the new Swordsman was Andreas von Strucker, who had his sister’s skin flayed and then worked into the leather in his sword’s hilt, so that when he held the sword, his hands would, in effect, still be touching his sister’s, so that they could activate the sword’s powers.

When Norman Osborn took control of the Thunderbolts, von Strucker remained with the team because Osborn promised him that he would clone Andrea, and sure enough, that’s exactly what Osborn did. Sadly, she then was promptly killed again, this time by Bullseye in Thunderbolts #124 (by Christos Gage and Fernando Blanco)…

And when Andreas confronted Norman Osborn over the death of his sister, Osborn’s failure to clone her again and also the fact that Osborn did not make Andreas part of Osborn’s new Dark Avengers (after his success with the Thunderbolts and his heroism during the Skrull Invasion, Osborn was given control of SHIELD), Osborn then killed Andreas, as well in Secret Invasion: Dark Reign #1 (by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev)…

This being comics, though, they of course popped up alive in 2015’s Illuminati #2 (by Joshua Williamson, Shawn Crystal and John Rauch), owning a club for supervillains with a nice hand waving of how their father brought them back somehow…

So they’re free and clear if Marvel wants to do something with them to tie in with the TV series, but frankly, that seems like an unlikely scenario, since they’re so different from the TV versions of the von Struckers (at least Andreas and Andy are similar names)…

It is likely that they will at least pop up in one of Marvel’s newly launched X-titles.

Tags:
The Gifted, x-men
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